I get a lot of pitches for things people would like me to write about on wine me, dine me. Some things make sense (which is what this post is about) and some things– well, they’re interesting. I have been pitched:
- A giveaway for used, twin bunk beds (I have no children…)
- Portable stripper poles (really)
- Pretty much every lower-end mega chain restaurant (No, I am not giving away coupons for TGI O’Chillibees)
- Lots and lots of mega-processed products (plastic cheese? No thanks.)
I buy processed food. We all do: unless you are grinding flour and extracting sugar from cane or beets, it’s processed. Sometimes I buy convenience food– ketchup, prepared mustard, and yogurt are some pretty common purchases. So when I got an email from Liberte, a yogurt brand I’d seen at the store but never tried, saying that Megan Ketover was using Liberte in some of her recipes, and would I like to try them? I had to at least try.
Liberte is a French-Canadian company out of Montreal, that has recently expanded into the US. They have two types of yogurt: Mediterranee, which is full-fat and full-flavor (it’s pretty dessertlike on its own, to tell the truth!) and Greek, which was made specifically for the US fascination with Greek yogurt (remember when you couldn’t find any? Now you can’t find regular!). In my tasting, I tried all of the flavors and got to sample some of Megan’s recipes, too.
What I liked about Liberte is that the flavors are simple but delicious. Since this experience, I’ve purchased the lemon Greek yogurt a number of times: I love that the lemon tastes like lemon curd, and not artificial like so many other yogurts. As a treat, I’ve purchased the coconut– which tastes like coconut cream, and not like sunscreen (again, I really dislike artificial flavors). The yogurts are made with rBGH-free milk, with no gelatin or artificial preservatives or sugars. I wish the organic versions of Liberte were available locally– if you’re reading this, Liberte, send them this way!– but I’m pretty comfortable with the natural ingredients in the product.
Ketover, who is familiar to non-Cincinnatians as a competitor on Top Chef Just Desserts and on Food Network’s Challenge, was approached by Liberte and really loved the product, and serves it at brunch and via room service at the Hilton Netherland (pretty high praise, if you ask me). She came up with some really delicious desserts using her favorite flavors (her favorites are the same as mine– lemon and coconut). I loved the blueberry-lavender pound cake and dark chocolate candied almond crunch. The latter was paired with the coconut Mediterranee– I need to make it for dessert sometime soon.
So yes, occasionally some pre-made stuff can be really good. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be eating some lemon Greek yogurt.
Dark Chocolate Candied Almond Crunch
1/2 cup egg whites
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup dark chocolate (chopped or in chunks, about 6 oz)
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees
2. Whip together egg whites and sugar until combined.
3. Add in nutmeg, salt and almonds and toss to combine.
4. Spread almond mixture evenly onto parchment or nonstick baking mat-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until almonds are light golden brown and coated in caramelized sugar.
6. Remove from oven and allow the mixture to cool slightly, stirring occasionally to ensure the almonds do not stick together. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
7. Slowly melt the dark chocolate over a barely simmering water bath, stirring occasionally so the chocolate does not overheat.
8. When chocolate is melted, drizzle over candied almonds and stir to combine.
9. Allow mixture to cool completely, stirring occasionally to thoroughly coat the almonds. Sift cocoa powder over chocolate-coated almonds and toss to combine.
10. Serve with Liberte Mediterranee Coconut yogurt.